Cables to settle brightness

Any suggestions on a cable brand for interconnects and power cables to settle down some brightness?

I have Wireworld at the moment which I might send back.

As I move up the food chain in my system it is getting higher resolving but the treble has gotten a bit forward for me.

I added a PS Audio PowerPlant which is greatly improved the SQ, but now the treble is a little too much. Now it might settle down with burn in, but I’m not sure.

Any suggestions?




For your application, I would choose something that's pure copper (as opposed to silver, or a mix/alloy).

I like Synergistic Research cables. There are always some available on usedcable . com




Mc system: 601s and a c2300 and SF Olympica. My speakers cable is Wireworld equinox. So not an overly bright system by any means.

I should note that vinyl doesn’t have this issue, just digital sources, so cables to the digital source might be the place to start. 

Turning the treble down certainly helps, but, as a purest, I would prefer to not use the EQ

Interesting idea about the DAC. I’m currently using a Mc DA1 module in a MCD85. Perhaps as I’m improving my power/amps/pre I’m revealing a deficiency in my DAC. I’m also getting sibilance now with female vocals.

There are several possibilities. Based on my limited experience cables may help fine tune the sound by reducing the brightness but the difference may not be significant enough to completely resolve the sibilance with human voice or glare in the treble.

In my system, the amp and speaker match is usually the culprit with sibilance and brightness. Replacing either the amp or speaker resolved the issue. DACs don’t contribute too much to the brightness in my system. As a matter of fact, one of my DACs (Luxman DA-06) sound slightly warm.

I would look at trying different amps if you like the sound of your Sonus Fabers.

Cardas! If you need a lot of taming go for old used Golden Reference. I used them for decades to warm up my system. Contemporary Cardas are still warm, but not nearly to the extent. But are still excellent cables.

You will want copper as the conductor for sure. Nothing silver or silver coated. 

@w123ale Which PowerPlant did you get, and when? If it is not broken in, give it time. If you have a current hungry amp and are plugging it into the PowerPlant, unplug it and go straight from the wall. I’ve owned a few PowerPlants and had to do this every time. I’ve since moved to the Synergistic Research PowerCells (first the UEF 12 SE and now the Galileo) and those solved any brightness issues for me. 

Otherwise, cabling and component upgrade suggestions above also help.

PowerPlant is new—about a week—and probably has only 30 hrs on it so far actively playing. I’ll try plugging the amps into the wall.

Yeah, as @blisshifi mentioned I’d give the Power Plant more time to settle in.  It’s hard to believe a Mac and SF Olympica combo could sound bright, but I’m not familiar with their DACs so that might be something to explore as well.  

@w123ale Yes definitely let it burn in at least a week or two before buying new gear or cables to address issues. What amps are you using, and which PowerPlant do you have?

Mid-range WW is actually the recommendation I'd make to you.  It gets brighter as you go up the line.

Stranded cable, even stranded silver, should reduce the brightness, though copper is a sure bet. That's been my experience.

All the best,


@ryder has a thread asking for cables to add brightness. Maybe the two of you should get together.


@vonhelmholtz nailed it. 
Forget cables for now. The internal mcintosh dac is your issue. It’s digital/harsh sounding. Cables won’t cure that.
Get a good DAC. Worry about cables later. Stay $5k and up MSRP for the DAC used or new. There are multiple threads covering this topic under digital (latest discussion should show up at the top).

I should add that the DAC that I criticized was the DAC2 inside my MA12000. I think this DAC competes in the $1000-$1500 stand alone DAC range, but we each have our preferences/bias for what we consider musical. You might want to chat with Juan (blisshifi) in that I believe that he shares this bias and he helped to get my system where I wanted it.

If vinyl doesn't have the problem, it is in your dac.  Some DACs have a voltage setting. Turning down the voltage can reduce harshness.

I keep saying that cables aren't tuners and many disagree.  But you're spending a lot of money swapping out the wrong component.



+1 on upgrading the DAC.  Your amp, preamp and speakers ae al in the 'not bright at all' category (to me). 

Many will recommend the dac and or streamer /dac they have.  Plenty of smoother DACs out there, and you have expensive gear.  Demo some!  And yes, most find all copper smoother than silver or silver blends for interconnects, power cables and speaker wires.

CARDAS CLEAR REFLECTION. (the improved successor to the prior GOLDEN REFERENCE model…)

I had an email conversation with Josh Meredith at CARDAS on this very issue. He referred me to his own experiences. His wife, Angela Cardas-Meredith,(… daughter of George Cardas and the current prez at CARDAS …) personally stepped down from the top CARDAS CLEAR BEYOND to the CLEAR REFLECTION speaker cable model in her home, to successfully tame the excess brightness produced by an audio system in large room with a lot of glass windows.

I followed that key advice personally too this past month in like manner, and I swapped out NORDOST FREY (silver on Cu) to all-Cu CARDAS CLEAR REFLECTION speaker cables a few weeks ago, to tame my own unwanted brightness.

- Success - the unwanted brightness is gone, presentation is a touch warmer, and all with no loss of details and slam.

PS: I have all CARDAS CLEAR interconnects for all components, and a mix of both CARDAS CLEAR and GOLDEN REFERENCE power cables …FWIW..

My Equipment:


REGA OSIRIS integrated amp

BRYSTON BDP1-USB digital player/ streamer/ server


HARBETH M30.2XD standmount speakers on TonTraeger stands

PHILLIPS 630 tuner ( fully rebuilt )


interesting reads :

Angela Cardas (Cardas Audio) @ RMAF 2018


This is the BEST video about LOUDSPEAKER CABLES that you will see all year


My experience has been in order to get speakers to sound less bass forward/brighter to move them away from the walls. To increase bass/less bright move them closer to the walls. In order to have speakers to become clearer and more focused use an isolation platform like Isocousitics. I couldn't recommend a sure way for a cable to provide the results you want.

I'd add Acrotec/Acrolink to that list.

The previous Golden generation of Cardas is warmer than the current. Try the Golden Cross or Golden Reference, the "mid" cable the Golden Presence isn't quite as good.

@carlsbad + 1 

Many Have been preaching that for many years, other than electronic equipment seems That has to Burn in Lol !
Have 123ale and enjoy your research.

Soo you want to use cables to place a band-aid on your sound. Interesting.

don't fix the brightness with cables....fix it by getting rid of the brightness in the system.

I used to have C2600 with DAC1. I upgraded to Moon 280D and it was significant. I also had MC 302 and Sonus Faber Olympics Nova Vs. I used Kimber Kabyle KCTG interconnects and bifocal XL speaker cables. 

I auditioned Kimber Kabyle 12TCs and I thought they were horrible because the higher frequencies were harsh to me. 

Hope this is constructive

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Don't worry about your power cables.  But get rid of EVERY INCH of silver conductor in the signal path.

That old misconception " silver is bright " might not apply since op haven't mentioned having any kind of silver/ silver over copper cable in his/her system. 

I do share the opinion that using cable as equaliser is a bad idea, changing equipment to find synergy might be more inconvenient but mostly more rewarding in the long run! 

Many recordings have a hot top end. What you are hearing is likely an accurate rendering of the recording. Rock music is particularly bad in this regard! Turn that Marshall stack up to 11!

Many recordings have a hot top end. What you are hearing is likely an accurate rendering of the recording.

This may be true, and I agree that taking the recordings into account is very important when assessing a problem. I moved into a new home recently, and am in the process of taming some bloat from the bass produced by my rear ported speakers. During the process, I have noticed that in well recorded music, the bloat is very subtle at most. But in others, typically more popular soul and funk, etc., the bass was clearly boosted, and the problem is therefore much more pronounced.

WOW!  Great thread.  I am in the OP's boat too, but it's not my DAC, which is a Denafrips Pontus II.  I actually think it's elsewhere in the digital chain.  Also have no issues with vinyl playback.  I upgraded to a Small Green Computer Sonic Orbiter i5 about a year ago.  Most cables in the digital chain are from Morrow Audio.  I have a Sonore UltraDigital and UltraRendu, using the I2S over HDMI to connect to DAC.  On some material it sounds really good, but my previous digital chain made everything sound liquid and musical, and I miss it.  I will look into some of the suggestions made in this thread.  Thanks!

I haven't read the other comments, but if you have a problem with brightness, I wouldn't look to cables for the fix.  Firstly, look at room treatments:  sound absorbers, etc.  Secondly, find out which component of yours is causing the brightness, and consider upgrading, or changing that component.  If you don't have the capacity to do the aforementioned, then you could try various cables from various sources, such as the cable company, which will allow you to test various cables in your system for a small rental fee. 



I would suspect your streamer. I highly recommend Aurender. Either one of there lower level models or an older one. They are detailed and incredibly natural sounding. I have two of them after owning and researching the daylights out of the others. There is a reason Aurender are the most used streamer at audio shows. They mitigate most deficiencies in networking. I run mine directly from wall wart WiFi extenders and have vinyl level performance.

Using cables to tame brightness isn’t going to work to change brightness! Period! 

i posted the following in the parallel post on cables that add a touch of brightness to the sound... bears repeating here, imho

i would add, to several who have commented that one should not use cables to alter the tonality of one’s system -- that sometimes we have a system that is excellent in many regards, works very well, pleases us mostly, but just needs a little touch of treble boost or a slight, subtle mellowing of the edge...  this is where cables can help --  i view them as ’last 1-2% adjusters’ for a good system that is pretty much doing what we desire, kind of fine-tuning tools in the ol' tool kit so to speak

it happens, we have all been there...

@bondmanp - are you sure it is not the Denafrips dac - was this in your old digital chain that sounded better?   It is unlikely a streamer nor cables that will cause harshness in the top end whereas a DAC can easily be the cause. 

Having said that, I did find on an old Naim CD player that upgrading the mains cable reduced some of the harshness. 

Use the tone controls.  That's why they're there.  Real audiophiles know their value.

Using cables to tame brightness isn’t going to work to change brightness! Period! 

Strange, because I did exactly that very successfully, with some Cardas Golden Cross ICs.



The best cable to settle brightness is a grounding cable to your speaker drivers.

Agree not to use cables as tone controls, system and speakers may becoming too revealing for poor recordings and plug amp directly into wall. If you don’t have dedicated circuits start there, room acoustics if that’s an option and play with speaker and listening position as that may change things more than cables.

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I would try Some of the Tellurium Q range; they are actually grouped according to two axes: tone and resolution, so they are easy to chose as per the OP needs

I had the Black II in my system and although they didn’t do it for me, it is a very good cable for the price.